Snowman

Once there was a young wombat named Benson, who lived in a very tidy wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.

Benson had a special friend called Zali. Zali’s mother had a problem and she came to talk to Benson’s mother.

“It’s Zali’s birthday, and all she wants is a snowman. I’ve suggested all sorts of things, everything I can think of, but just keeps saying, ‘Snowman! Snowman!’ What am I going to do? How can I give her a snowman?”

Benson said, “What is a snowman?”

“Well obviously, it’s a man made out of snow,” Aunt Lillibet said.

“What is snow?” Benson asked.

“It’s supposed to be like rain, but white and soft,” Benson’s mother said. “It sort of floats.”

“Floating rain?” Benson said. He tried to imagine it. “Have you ever seen snow?” he asked.

“No,” said his mother.

“I haven’t,” said Aunt Lillibet.

“I haven’t,” said Aunt Moss.

“I haven’t either,” said Zali’s mother. “Is it like sugar?”

“I think it’s made of ice,” Benson’s mother said.

“I think it’s like moths’ wings, soft and floating,” Aunt Moss said.

“I think it’s cold and hard like hailstones,” said Aunt Lillibet.

Benson found a picture of a snowman in a book. They all looked at it carefully.

“How can I make a snowman without any snow?” Zali’s mother said. “Zali is going to be so disappointed.”

Benson said, “I’ve got an idea!”

Aunt Lillibet said, “I’ve got an idea too.”

They all started to talk at the same time.

Benson’s mother said to Zali’s mother, “Don’t worry, we can have the party here. We’ll sort everything out.”

They invited Benson’s friend, Philip and his friend Kendall, and Nils and Nella and Mick. Zali was very happy that it was her birthday. She kept saying, “Snowman! Snowman! Snowman!”

Benson said, “Let’s all go down to the creek.”

They all went down to the creek, to a spot where Benson knew there was lots of white clay in the bank of the creek. They dug out lumps and rolled it into balls, and made snowmen with sticks for noses and stones for eyes and little black seeds for the mouth. Zali was very happy.

When it was time for the birthday cake, they all sat under a tree in the shade, and Aunt Moss and Aunt Lillibet brought out the cake they had made. It was made of two white meringues with whipped cream spread over the top, exactly in the shape of a snowman, with strawberries for eyes, paw-paw for the nose and a row of blueberries for the mouth. Zali clapped her hands and said, “Snowman! Snowman!” It was delicious.

Then it was time for presents, and Benson’s mother gave Zali something very special that she had made herself. It was a white pillow, tied around the middle with a ribbon, with a carrot nose painted on and two brown eyes, and a big smile. Zali cuddled it and closed her eyes, and said softly, “Snowman!” She was very happy.

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